Month: May 2014

How Acupuncture Differs from Western Medicine

As Americans, we think about health and medicine in a culturally unique way. For most of us, medicine is something that is practiced in sterile settings and usually health is achieved by taking pills or doing surgery. Doctors use specific tools such as stethoscopes and tongue depressors to examine patients. According to our worldview, there is a long list of diseases and every patient should receive a diagnosis of one of these. Patients even experience distress when they experience pain or discomfort and their doctor can’t assign a disease from this list. Our way of doing medicine seems best to us, but practitioners of acupuncture would beg to differ. It’s a mistake to assume that your acupuncturist will understand or be able to make use of a diagnosis that you received from a doctor practicing western medicine. Acupuncture is not just a different treatment modality, it is an entirely different way of looking at health and well-being. Some westerners view this alternate view of health as refreshing. Others feel lost when it becomes clear that they can’t cling to even the most rudimentary aspects of western medicine. But acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine have their virtues. For example, there are a number of ailments that western medicine can’t cure. Seasonal allergies are a good example of a pervasive health-related problem that western doctors cannot cure. If you go to...

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Persistent Headache Causes That Might Surprise You

Years ago, when I was in high school looking to the future as a pre-med undergraduate in college, I perused a used bookstore with college textbooks and found a big orange and black book on diseases of the digestive system and proctology, in the throw-away bin. It was one volume of a set and since it was free, I decided to take it home. I never read the book cover-to-cover, but I did open it every now and then and read little snippets of information. One key piece of information that has been useful to me is the fact that digestive problems can cause headaches. When I first met my husband, he had chronic, painful headaches. He also had problems with diarrhea and constipation, alternating. Eventually, a doctor diagnosed him with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), but we never accepted that as a suitable diagnosis since there was no treatment for it. IBS seemed to be the type of disease that doctor’s diagnose when they don’t know what’s wrong with their patient, but can’t admit it. My husband and I went through a period of poverty following 9/11 and as a result, our eating habits changed. Since meat was expensive, we stopped eating so much of it. Instead, we ate a lot of beans and rice (or occasionally rice and beans). One day, we both looked at each other and...

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What is a Healing Crisis? (aka Herxheimer Reaction or Die-Off Reaction)

We’ve been taught to believe that when our bodies feel good, we’re healthy and when our bodies feel bad, we’re sick, but this isn’t always the case.  A Healing Crisis, also known as a Detoxification Reaction or Herxheimer Reaction occurs when the body begins the natural process of healing itself. When toxins are released into the circulatory system by pathogens that are dying, rather than feeling better, a patient going through a Healing Crisis and feels worse. That’s because the kidneys, skin, and digestive system can’t rid the body of the toxins fast enough, leaving them in circulation to cause nausea, fatigue, headaches, fever, and general malaise. Toxins that are released into circulation can come from a variety of different sources. A successful program designed to kill off invading pathogens in the body can lead to a Herxheimer Reaction when they die in vast numbers releasing endotoxins into the body.  When the body isn’t used to ridding itself of these endotoxins in large quantities, discomfort results. As the body gets healthier and becomes more accustomed to undertaking this process of detoxification, the Healing Crisis becomes less pronounced.   Most Common Symptoms Associated with the Healing Crisis: -Nausea and vomiting -Diarrhea -Increased Blood Pressure -Headaches -Fatigue -Night Sweats -Hot or Cold Flashes -Joint Pain   Other Healing Crisis Causes: A number of treatment modalities can set off a Healing Crisis...

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